To ensure the country stays beautiful for future generations
As travelers in Laos and around the world, it’s important to be considerate about our role in the ecosystem. To be responsible travelers, we must understand the risks and how to prevent them to minimize our footprints. It also involves being conscientious of how our actions impact the health of other people, plants, animals, and the environment we share.
How does responsible tourism help?
Responsible tourism works to:
• minimize negative economic, environmental and social impacts;
• generate greater economic benefits for local people and enhance the well-being of host communities, improving working conditions and access to the travel industry;
• involve local people in decisions that affect their lives and life changes;
• make positive contributions to the conservation of Laos’ natural and cultural heritage, to protect biodiversity and diverse cultures;
• provide more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural and social, and environmental issues;
• provide access for people with special needs;
• engender cultural sensitivity and respect between tourists and hosts, building local pride and confidence.
How can I travel responsibly?
Here are five easy things you can do when visiting Laos to help the country at the same time:
1. Enjoy Lao cuisine. Your money will stay in the community and will assist Lao farmers. When on tour, request to eat in villages rather than bringing meals from town. This will give the villagers a source of income while also giving you a delicious Lao meal and a fantastic cultural experience.
2. Buy local crafts. Directly support local craftsmen and keep their traditional crafts alive by buying handicrafts in markets or villages.
3. Get a guide. Your journey will be more entertaining and informative if you hire a local guide. This will also support the local economy. Look for packaged tours that include local accommodation, meals, and guides.
4. Try a homestay. Get a genuine introduction to Lao culture and people by spending the night in a village as part of a guided trip. Just remember to pay the locals for your lodging and meals, and always visit villages with a local guide.
5. Avoid wild flora and fauna. Wildlife has a significant role in the food chain. They help to balance the ecosystem within the forests. The loss and extinction of many species due to poaching can lead to dangerous ecological imbalances and the spread of diseases. Take steps to ensure that your interactions with people and animals are safe to minimize the risk of zoonotic disease transmission. It only takes one infected traveler to alter the health of many – don’t let that be you!
This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the responsibility of the implementing partners and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.
With a little forethought, it’s easy to reduce your travel footprint and be considerate of the place you are visiting. Help keep Laos’ environment, people, and animals thriving, healthy, and safe for the future.
For more information on combatting health risks in the wildlife trade, visit: fb.com/onehealthlaos
Text BY Jason Rolan
PHOTOGRAPHS BY southern Laos